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Homeless center in SLO faces hurdle today

The proposed Homeless Services Center in San Luis Obispo may clear another major hurdle today if approved by the city’s Planning Commission.

Community Action Partners of San Luis Obispo County — formerly the Economic Opportunity Commission — seeks to develop a center that would combine and expand the homeless services now being offered at the Maxine Lewis Homeless Shelter and the Prado Day Center.

The Planning Commission is being asked to approve a use permit for the new building to be adjacent to the Department of Social Services on South Higuera Street.

The concept is part of a strategy called “A Path to a Home: A Ten Year Plan to End Homelessness” that was endorsed by the county and the county’s seven incorporated cities in 2009.

The plan calls for 200 beds, a commercial kitchen capable of serving three meals a day, laundry facilities, showers, lockers and storage, offices for caseworkers, a classroom for children, and community and multipurpose rooms.

The projected cost of such a campus is between $4 million and $6 million.

The county Board of Supervisors previously determined that the property is surplus — making it available for the center — and the Airport Land Use Commission ruled it consistent with the Airport Land Use Plan.

If approved by the Planning Commission, Community Action Partners will move forward with designing the facility.

“The use permit is needed to ensure that this is a logical and appropriate location for the shelter,” associate planner Philip Duns-more said. “It enables the applicant to start a fundraising effort and gives them some surety to proceed with the project.”

Those plans will then be reviewed by the city’s Architectural Review Commission.

“The hope is to combine services currently being offered and to provide a larger capacity to take care of the homeless needs in the area,” Dunsmore said. “The building will be something that comes close to what the need is; right now it doesn’t even come close.”

Reach AnnMarie Cornejo at 781-7939.

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